Bible readers remember Mount Ararat, in northern Turkey (though also claimed by Armenia), as the final port for Noah’s ark, according to Genesis 8:4, which says it came to rest “on the mountains of Ararat” (though the word could also be translated as “Urartu,” a reference to the general area, but no specific mountain).  There are actually two distinctive peaks called Ararat: Armenians call the largest mountain “Big Ararat,” and a smaller adjacent mountain, a perfect volcanic cone, “Little Ararat.”

According to, Joel Klenck, a Harvard-trained archaeologist who’s head of the Paleontological Research Corporation has described surveys of two cave sites on Mount Ararat (the big one, presumably), both containing large wood structures that date back to the Epipaleolithic period, with radiocarbon dates suggesting sometime between 13,100 and 9,600 B.C.

The finds won’t do anything to bolster the persistent ark hunters who periodically claim to have found remains of Noah’s Ark — they actually seem to have been some sort of multi-level residential construction, including stairs. Unfortunately, the site is mostly covered with ice and stones that have accreted through the years, and it’s at an altitude of 4,200 meters (about 2.6 miles), so it won’t be easy to examine closely.

Still, it’s fascinating to imagine what the people would have been like who lived and apparently thrived there 12,000 years ago — and even more intriguing to envision what they would think of their descendants, as we enter 2012.

And it could possibly worth asking, which group should be considered more civilized?

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